Photos show the horrors of Auschwitz, 75 years after its liberation

  • January 27, 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the Soviet Army’s liberation of Auschwitz, the largest and deadliest Nazi concentration complex.
  • First established in 1940 in German-occupied Poland, Auschwitz had a concentration camp, a labor camp, large gas chambers, and crematoria.
  • More than 1.1 million people were murdered at Auschwitz, including nearly one million Jews. On the day of liberation, only 7,000 were saved.

It was the greatest tragedy of the Holocaust. In just five years, over one million people were murdered at Auschwitz, the largest and deadliest Nazi concentration camp.

Auschwitz was established in 1940 and located in the suburbs of Oswiecim, a Polish city the Germans annexed. Between 1940 and 1945, it grew to include three main camp centers and a slew of subcamps – each of which were used for forced labor, torture, and mass killing.

An estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz during its five-year operation, and approximately 1.1 million were killed.

The terror of Auschwitz finally subsided on January 27, 1945, when the Soviet Army liberated the remaining 7.000 prisoners from the camps.

On the 75th anniversary of this liberation, these photos exhibit the horror and history of Auschwitz.

Auschwitz was established in 1940 in the suburbs of Oswiecim, Poland. During its first year, authorities cleared 15 square miles for the camp.

Auschwitz I, the first camp to undergo construction, was initially created for three reasons: to imprison enemies, to use forced labor, and to kill certain groups of people.

Construction of the largest camp, Auschwitz II, also called Auschwitz-Birkenau, began in October 1941. Electrified barbed wire divided it into 10 different sections.

Auschwitz-Birkenau’s different sections were for “women; men; a family camp for Roma (Gypsies) deported from Germany, Austria, and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia; and a family camp for Jewish families deported from the Theresienstadt ghetto,” according to the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Inmates were put into poorly structured wooden barracks with 36 bunks each. Five to six prisoners were packed in so over 500 prisoners were in each unit.

Incoming prisoners who were selected for forced labor received tattoos and had a serial number sewn into their uniforms. Auschwitz was the only concentration camp to do this.

Shortly after construction, Auschwitz-Birkenau became the largest killing center and central location for the extermination of Jews in Europe.

In 1942, two farmhouses just outside the camp were turned into gas chambers.

But as Auschwitz-Birkenau became a central location for mass killing, these gas chambers were too small. Four new chambers were built between March and June 1943, each containing a disrobing area, gas chamber, and crematory ovens.

As millions of people were murdered, mounds of eye glasses, razors, shoes, and other belongings were left behind.

In 1942, Auschwitz III, also known as Buna or Monowitz, opened near the town of Monowice to house more forced laborers.

Forty-four subcamps with different specializations were established at Auschwitz between 1942 and 1944. The Nazis made prisoners work on large farms, in coal mines, in weapons production — basically anything the German military needed for war.

Between 1940 and 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were sent to Auschwitz. Approximately 1.1 million were killed.

In January 1945, before Soviet forces could reach the camps for liberation, nearly 60,000 people were forced to march west ,and thousands more were killed.

The terror finally subsided on January 27, 1945, when the Soviet Army reached the gates of Auschwitz.

When Soviet soldiers arrived, only between 6,000 and 7,000 prisoners remained. The majority of them faced starvation, death, and illness.

Available records indicate that when the soldiers arrived, at least 700 youth prisoners were still at the camp, half of whom were Jewish.

In many cases, the liberated children were malnourished, severely weak, vitamin deficient, and diseased. Of 180 children examined after liberation, 40% had tuberculosis.

Immediately after liberation, many of the children were sent to hospitals organized by the Soviet army and the Polish Red Cross.

In 2016, a group of children who survived the horrors of Auschwitz met to take their photo together.

In total, 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. One-sixth of these exterminations happened at Auschwitz alone.

To commemorate this grave tragedy, world leaders met in Israel this week to mark 75 years since the camp’s liberation.

May their memory make us reflect in the present and the future.


Documental ‘La fábrica de muerte’

5 things we learned about climate change at Davos 2020

Going by the media coverage, Davos 2020 was the Trump and Greta show.

The Swedish teenager Thunberg, for a second year running, told business and governments to make drastic and urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the climate disaster that scientists say we are rapidly heading towards. The US president did not mention climate change and said we should ignore the “perennial prophets of doom” and “embrace the possibilities of tomorrow”.

So what did we learn about climate change this week in Davos? Is it apocalypse soon, or a bright green future.

Earth will survive; we might not

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “We will be destroyed by climate change, not the planet. This will be for us a clear indication that we absolutely need to change course.” And “humankind has declared a war on nature and nature is striking back in a very violent way,” he said.

Prince Charles had a similarly stark take:

“Global warming, climate change and the devastating loss of biodiversity are the greatest threats humanity has ever faced,” he said.

His work as an environmentalist over the years had been done with “our children and grandchildren in mind, because I did not want to be accused by them of doing nothing except prevaricate and deny the problem.”

Tipping points

One reason action to tackle climate change is so urgent, according to the scientists, is that we are close to several ‘tipping points’ which could accelerate global warming even more. 

One of these is the melting of the ice caps. Professor Gail Whiteman explained the ‘albedo effect’ and why an ice-free Arctic would spell disaster for the whole world.

Business as usual?

Do industry leaders accept the risk? Many seem to.

“Fossil fuels, the fuel of the 20th century – its days are numbered,” said Andrew Liveris, former CEO of Dow Chemical, who is now on the board of Saudi Aramco. 

And that might partly be driven by investors moving their assets out of fossil fuels in the coming years. A process that has already started and may gain momentum with the creation of company accounting standards for climate-related risks – something Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said would be ready by the end of the year.

“If you look at what’s happening in finance, you have the core of the financial system, all the investors, wanting the information about what? About the transition (away from fossil fuels),” Carney said.

“At the core of this system now these questions are being asked, and are you on the right side or the wrong side of that transition? And if you are on the wrong side, what are you going to do about it?”


Scott Minerd, Global Chief Investment Officer of Guggenheim, said it was not enough to nudge business into action – they had to be financial reasons to divest from fossil fuels.

“While businesses may greenwash and talk about all the wonderful things they’re doing there has to be a stronger sense of setting up incentives to get this addressed,” said Minerd. His suggestion? “Put a price on carbon.”

Trees are good

One climate initiative launched at Davos received unanimous applause – even from Donald Trump.

The project aims to grow, restore and conserve 1 trillion trees around the world to sequester carbon from the air and to protect biodiversity.

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, who is providing financial support for, thanked Trump for joining the initiative and said: “Trees are a bi-partisan issue – everyone’s pro-trees.” 

From the World Economic Forum in Davos

Davos 2020 Diary: ‘Frankly more difficult’

U.S. President Donald Trump jetted out of Davos, but not before igniting another round of international trade tensions.

Less than a week since inking an interim trade deal with China, Trump and his team took aim at Europe Union nations and the World Trade Organization.

U.S. President Donald Trump invites a question from the media during a Davos news conference.

  • Trump threatened punitive action against EU members if they don’t compromise on a pact before he faces voters in November. He argued the bloc is “frankly more difficult” to deal with than China.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin dangled the prospect of levies on auto imports for countries that go ahead with a tax on digital services. Such threats helped convince France to postpone its plans to get a temporary truce.
  • That still puts him at odds with U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, who intends to go ahead with taxes of this kind in April.
  • Trump said he has something “very dramatic” in mind to overhaul the WTO.

The upshot: Such barbs explain why those at Davos aren’t declaring the all-clear for the world economy even as it shows signs of stabilizing after a year when the U.S.-China trade war drove growth to its weakest since the financial crisis.

From Bloomberg’s ‘Davos Diary’ from the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.

Bloomberg Data Dash: A Live Climate Scoreboard for the World

A difficult global transition is happening right now, away from fossil fuels, deforestation, greenhouse-gas pollution and melting ice. It can be measured with precision and clarity. The processes described by this data dashboard are occurring on a planetary scale, and yet our progress can be measured this minute, in parts per million, in metric tons, in fractions of a degree. This is Bloomberg Green’s guide to the worldwide goal of slowing and stopping warming temperatures. This is a record of how far we have to go, and a tool to assess how much we can change.

These are the numbers that matter:

Davos 2020 Diary: Green is the word

The gathering in Davos has truly gone green this year with multiple panels, speeches and studies devoted to threat of climate change and what businesses should be doing about it.

For activist Greta Thunberg, the concern is that talk isn’t being matched by action.

“Pretty much nothing has been done, since the global emissions of CO2 have not reduced,” the 17-year-old said in Davos. 

She will have been disappointed albeit unsurprised to hear President Donald Trump speak later in the day. He had arrived by helicopter to be greeted by the words “act on climate,” carved into a snowy mountainside.

While he spent most of his speech highlighting his management of the U.S. economic expansion, Trump also touted the benefits of soaring American oil and gas production and made a thinly veiled attack on those like Thunberg who warn about looming environmental catastrophe.

“We must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse,” Trump said. “They are the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers.”

Trump aside, part of the dilemma for those in Davos is they don’t yet know how much economic growth they are willing to sacrifice to deal with the risks of rising temperatures, according to a Deutsche Bank report being promoted at the meeting.

And a survey of CEOs by PricewaterhouseCoopers found only 24% are “extremely concerned” about climate change. Tellingly, Thunberg’s panel drew only a handful of the energy executives chiefly responsible for warming the planet.

Still, Davos regular Marco Dunand, the head of Mercuria Energy Trading, one of the largest oil traders, says the delegates are up to meeting Thunberg’s challenge.

“I have come to Davos for well over a decade and I see behind the scenes, among top executives, a huge change in perception of the risk of climate change,” he said. “It’s not just talk: it’s translating into billions of dollars in investments in the energy transition.”

And BlackRock’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink told a Bloomberg Live event that companies do need to step-up and develop “real long-term planning.”

From Bloomberg’s ‘Davos Diary’ from the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.